Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Four Ways to USE Your Word Wall

So, in my previous post, I talked about how to create an effective, high-quality word wall. BUT- it's not enough to just have an awesome word wall. What's the point in going through that effort to put it up, keep it relevant, and change it out.....if you're not going to actually actively use it as part of instruction? If you're not using it, it's just decoration, friends!

There are a number of word wall activities that you can do to get students actively using the word wall. Here are a few suggestions:

This strategy can be used for building or organizing your word wall. Select a topic- for example, plant reproduction.

  • List: Have students brainstorm all the words they think relate to the topic.Visually display student responses.
  • Group: Divide your class into small groups. Each group will work to cluster the class list of words into subcategories. As groups of words emerge, challenge your students to explain their reasoning for grouping words as they have.
  • Label: Invite students to suggest a title or label for the groups of words they have formed. These labels should relate to their reasoning for the grouping.

Mystery Word 
  1. Divide students into groups of 3-4 and give each group a whiteboard. One person in the group is the word wall runner, one is the recorder and these roles should switch each round. 
  2. The teacher gives clues to a word wall word. 
  3. Students discuss and try to determine which word the clues are about. The word wall runner makes trips to the word wall as necessary and the recorder writes the group's answer on the whiteboard. 
  4. The team to identify the mystery word first gets a point, the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Flip It
Have students work individually or in pairs to create a short video on Flipgrid for each vocabulary word. Videos can include explanations, examples, definitions, and more- possibilities are endless! Add the FlipGrid QR codes to your word wall to make an engaging, student-created word wall.  

Word Wall Information Gap 
Create a table of information or a graphic organizer based on your word wall. Fill in some of the information, but leave other information out, so that students must use the word wall to complete the organizer. See an example below:

How do you USE your word wall in your classroom? What strategies do you incorporate to ensure students use the word wall during learning?

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